Emma StonePublished on March 24, 2022 • Last updated March 29, 2022
Few feelings are as unpleasant as being convinced that someone is out to get you. Of the cascade of effects that cannabis can kick off, paranoia is definitely one of the least desirable. As it turns out, THC, the major intoxicating compound in cannabis, can be responsible for triggering paranoid thoughts in some individuals when they smoke weed.
While not everyone who consumes weed will experience paranoia, it can be a common adverse effect. What’s more, some individuals are more susceptible to paranoia than others. Understanding why paranoid thoughts occur and how to avoid or manage them when consuming cannabis can empower you, rather than leave you feeling fearful.
- What is paranoia?
- How can weed cause paranoia?
- CBD strains may ease paranoia
- Are some more vulnerable to paranoia when consuming weed than others?
- Tips for stopping weed paranoia
- Marijuana Paranoia: Why It Happens and How to Handle It
- Why does weed make some people paranoid? – Leafly
- Study Sheds Light on Marijuana and Paranoia – WebMD
- Is there a link between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders?
- Why Pot Makes You Paranoid—but Mellows Out Your Buddies
- Marijuana Paranoia: What It Is and Why It Happens – Leafwell
- Marijuana and Paranoia – Skywood Recovery
- Mental Health | Health Effects | Marijuana – CDC
- Study: how marijuana causes paranoia – Medical News Today
What is paranoia?
Paranoia is a state of mind or feeling when an individual has unfounded beliefs that others intend to cause them harm. Paranoia represents a central experience of paranoid personality disorder (PDD), which is characterized by consistent mistrust and suspicion of others. Paranoia is also a common feature of psychosis and psychotic illnesses, such as schizophrenia, but it isn’t always a feature of mental illness.
Symptoms of paranoia include:
- Inability to trust other people
- Inability to relax
- Feeling that outcomes are being controlled by external forces
- Finding hidden meaning in others’ behavior
From time to time, it’s normal to experience the occasional paranoid thought. Certain populations are also likely to be more prone to paranoid thinking than others: individuals who live in conditions of poverty, isolation or exploitation, and those who have low self-esteem, poor physical health, or have experienced trauma can often have an increased tendency toward paranoia.
Certain substances can also trigger paranoia, with cannabis one of the best known examples. Cannabis-induced paranoia can show up in a bunch of different ways. Examples include feeling fearful or self-conscious about what people think, or feeling threatened because someone or something is out to get you.
Those of us who have experienced paranoia after consuming weed will likely attest that in the grips of paranoia, there’s a strong desire to be alone, antisocial, hide out in a dark room, or even become catatonic.
How to use cannabis for anxiety
How can weed cause paranoia?
In 2014, a landmark study of cannabis and paranoia confirmed what had long been suspected: THC can trigger paranoia. The study included 121 volunteers who were either given intravenous THC (the equivalent of a strong joint) or a placebo.
The results clearly showed that THC can trigger paranoia in individuals who are more inclined toward paranoid thinking: Fifty percent of the volunteers given THC experienced paranoia, compared to 30% of the volunteers who received placebo.
The study also offered other fascinating insights into how THC influences paranoid thinking.
Abnormal brain processing
THC appears to impair the way the brain processes random events, a phenomenon called abnormal salience. In simple terms, individuals are more likely to give extra importance to random events and misinterpret them after taking cannabis. Other studies have shown that the likelihood of attributing significance, or salience, is further increased when the individual is exposed to negative emotions such as fear and anger.
In other words, someone who has just smoked weed is primed to freak out over an angry facial expression and misconstrue its meaning more than someone who hasn’t consumed cannabis. However, abnormal salience processing seems transitory, occurring only while the individual is high.
There’s currently no evidence to suggest that long-term cannabis use can permanently impair salience processing.
The best cannabis strains for anxiety
Overstimulating the brain
THC can also induce paranoid thinking through other means. The cannabinoid can activate endocannabinoid receptors throughout the brain, including in the amygdala. The amygdala plays a critical role in regulating fear-related responses, such as anxiety, stress, and paranoia.
Large doses of THC can overstimulate the amygdala, leading to an onslaught of fear or anxiety-based responses. This over-activation of negative emotions can kick off paranoia.
CBD strains may ease paranoia
Additional evidence indicates that THC can amp up fear responses and paranoid thinking. In one study, individuals were given 10 milligrams of THC then exposed to fearful faces. These individuals experienced greater amygdala activation than those who were given CBD. The CBD cohort of the study actually saw amygdala activity decrease.
It’s both fascinating and ironic that two distinct compounds housed within the same plant can exacerbate and ease paranoia.
Another recent study comparing the effects of CBD and THC-dominant cannabis cultivars found that the CBD-dominant cultivars triggered an instant reduction in tension and anxiety. On the other hand, the THC-dominant strains saw paranoia spike in users immediately following consumption, with the effects only subsiding after one hour.
While far from conclusive, these findings strongly suggest that THC can set off paranoia, while CBD can help ease it.
The complete guide to CBD (cannabidiol)
Are some more vulnerable to paranoia when consuming weed than others?
We know that paranoia can be a fairly common experience for cannabis consumers. As many as 51.4% of cannabis users have had paranoid thoughts when using cannabis. However, it appears that certain factors can make some individuals more vulnerable to paranoia than others.
Knowing THC causes paranoia doesn’t help
In the largest study on paranoia and cannabis conducted to date, researchers told participants that THC could spark paranoid thoughts. The researchers hypothesized that by making participants aware that THC could trigger such an effect, they would be less likely to misinterpret random events—a precursor to paranoid thinking.
However, this revelation appeared to do the opposite, exacerbating paranoia in those who had been told. In other words, cultivating an expectation that cannabis use can be accompanied by paranoia seems to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
There’s other evidence that also demonstrates that when people are led to associate cannabis with paranoia, they are more likely to identify a connection. Surveys on cannabis and paranoia have shown that people are significantly more likely to report paranoia when prompted to define it in a fixed way. On the other hand, when individuals are asked open-ended questions about their experiences with cannabis, as few as 6% report experiences with paranoia.
There’s also recent evidence that genetics may influence the likelihood of cannabis causing paranoia. In an extensive study that included 109,308 participants, researchers found that those with a genetic predisposition towards psychotic illnesses were more likely to experience paranoia following cannabis use.
However, it’s important to remember that experiencing paranoia doesn’t necessarily imply a psychotic illness—lots of people experience mild paranoia at some point in their lives.
Sex can determine adverse effects
Curiously, sex may also figure as a factor. A 2019 study of human participants found that women experience the effects of THC at a lower dose than men. While the research didn’t specifically probe whether women are more likely to experience paranoia, it did suggest that women have an increased likelihood of experiencing acute adverse effects following THC use, of which paranoia is an example.
Another study also found that women are significantly more likely to experience acute anxiety-inducing effects from cannabis and should therefore start with lower doses than men.
Tips for stopping weed paranoia
When it comes to paranoia, there is an array of tools available that may help lower the likelihood of paranoid thoughts occurring.
8 ways to sober up from being high
Start low and go slow
First and foremost, “start low and go slow.” If you’re inexperienced with cannabis, it’s always advisable to start with a low dose—even a microdose—and wait for the effects to kick in before consuming more.
As you become familiar with how the plant interacts with your body, you can start to adjust your dose, increasing slowly until you hit your personal sweet spot. The sweet spot represents the dose that delivers the desired outcome you want without unwanted effects, such as paranoia.
Cultivate a positive set and setting
Another method that may help reduce the chances of paranoia is paying attention to set and setting. In recent years, research has underscored the importance of cultivating a helpful mindset and safe setting to experience substances like cannabis.
As discussed earlier, paranoia tends to arise when there’s an abundance of negative emotion present. Anxiety, for example, can rapidly lead to feelings of being threatened or vulnerable to harm. Therefore, consuming weed in a setting where you feel safe and at ease, and with a relaxed, open state of mind, may help to diminish the chance of paranoia occurring.
Ride it out
However, if you do all the right things and paranoia still strikes, all is not lost. Although stoned paranoia can feel intense and overwhelming, it’s usually short-lived, subsiding after an hour or two. The following techniques may ease the intensity of the experience, and help to pass the time.
Some cannabis consumers swear by straightforward fixes such as deep breathing, relaxing activities like yin yoga, getting wrapped up in a blanket and waiting for the paranoia to fizzle out, or getting horizontal and chilling in bed.
Herbs, spices, and CBD strains
There are also anecdotes about inhaling or consuming freshly ground black pepper or lemon juice. The aromatic terpenes present in these plants may help induce relaxation or feelings of grounding, similar to the effects of aromatherapy.
Lastly, try CBD. Smoking a CBD strain or chewing CBD gummies can usher in feelings of calm, counteracting anxiety or negative feelings, helping to ease weed paranoia.
Marijuana Paranoia: Why It Happens and How to Handle It
Marijuana Paranoia: Why It Happens and How to Handle ItPeople commonly associate cannabis with relaxation, but it’s also known for causing feelings of paranoia or anxiety in some folks. What gives?First, it’s important to understand what paranoia involves. It’s similar to anxiety, but a bit more specific. Paranoia describes an irrational suspicion of other people. You might believe people are watching you, following you, or trying to rob or harm you in some way. Experts believe your endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a part in cannabis-related paranoia.When you use cannabis, certain compounds in it, including THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, bind to endocannabinoid receptors in various parts of your brain, including the amygdala. Your amygdala helps regulate your response to fear and related emotions, like anxiety, stress, and — wait for it — paranoia. When you use cannabis that’s rich in THC, your brain suddenly receives more cannabinoids than usual. Research suggests this excess of cannabinoids may overstimulate the amygdala, making you feel fear and anxiety. This would also explain why products rich in cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid that doesn’t directly bind to endocannabinoid receptors, don’t seem to cause paranoia.Not everyone experiences paranoia after using cannabis. Plus, most people who do experience it don’t notice it every single time they use cannabis. So, what makes someone more likely to experience it? There’s no single answer, but there are a few major factors to consider. GeneticsAccording to an animal study from 2019, cannabis tends to produce positive effects, such as relaxation and decreased anxiety, when it provides more stimulation to the front region of the brain.Study authors suggest this has to do with the large number of reward-producing opioid receptors in the front of the brain. If the back portion of your brain has more THC sensitivity than the anterior, however, you could experience an adverse reaction, which often includes paranoia and anxiety.THC contentUsing marijuana with higher THC content may also contribute to paranoia and other negative symptoms. A 2017 study looking at 42 healthy adults found evidence to suggest that consuming 7.5 milligrams (mg) of THC reduced negative feelings associated with a stressful task. A higher dose of 12.5 mg, on the other hand, had the opposite effect and increased those same negative feelings.While other factors like tolerance, genetics, and brain chemistry can come into play here, you’re generally more likely to experience paranoia or anxiety when you consume a lot of cannabis at once or use high-THC strains.SexA 2014 animal study exploring THC tolerance found evidence suggesting higher estrogen levels can increase cannabis sensitivity by as much as 30 percent and lower tolerance for marijuana.What does this mean for you? Well, if you’re female, you may be more sensitive to cannabis and its effects. This goes for positive effects, like pain relief, as well as negative effects, like paranoia. If you’re experiencing cannabis-related paranoia, there are a few things you can try for relief.RelaxDo things that relax you, like coloring, putting on restful music, or taking a warm bath. Some people report that yoga and deep breathing exercises, particularly alternate nostril breathing, can also help. Take a whiff of pepperCannabinoids and terpenoids, such as the terpenes in pepper, share some chemical similarities, which may be one reason why they seem to have some benefit for countering the effects of too much THC.If you have fresh peppercorns, grind them up and take a deep breath. Just don’t get too close — stinging eyes and sneezing might distract you from paranoia temporarily, but not in a fun way. Make lemonadeGot a lemon? Limonene, another terpene, may also help with the effects of too much THC.Squeeze and zest a lemon or two and add some sugar or honey…
Why does weed make some people paranoid? – Leafly
Why does weed make some people paranoid? Leafly Leafly ® Loading… Emma StonePublished on March 24, 2022 • Last updated March 29, 2022 Few feelings are as unpleasant as being convinced that someone is out to get you. Of the cascade of effects that cannabis can kick off, paranoia is definitely one of the least desirable. As it turns out, THC, the major intoxicating compound in cannabis, can be responsible for triggering paranoid thoughts in some individuals when they smoke weed. While not everyone who consumes weed will experience paranoia, it can be a common adverse effect. What’s more, some individuals are more susceptible to paranoia than others. Understanding why paranoid thoughts occur and how to avoid or manage them when consuming cannabis can empower you, rather than leave you feeling fearful. What is paranoia? Paranoia is a state of mind or feeling when an individual has unfounded beliefs that others intend to cause them harm. Paranoia represents a central experience of paranoid personality disorder (PDD), which is characterized by consistent mistrust and suspicion of others. Paranoia is also a common feature of psychosis and psychotic illnesses, such as schizophrenia, but it isn’t always a feature of mental illness. Symptoms of paranoia include: Inability to trust other peopleInability to relaxFeeling that outcomes are being controlled by external forcesFinding hidden meaning in others’ behaviorHypervigilance From time to time, it’s normal to experience the occasional paranoid thought. Certain populations are also likely to be more prone to paranoid thinking than others: individuals who live in conditions of poverty, isolation or exploitation, and those who have low self-esteem, poor physical health, or have experienced trauma can often have an increased tendency toward paranoia. Certain substances can also trigger paranoia, with cannabis one of the best known examples. Cannabis-induced paranoia can show up in a bunch of different ways. Examples include feeling fearful or self-conscious about what people think, or feeling threatened because someone or something is out to get you. Those of us who have experienced paranoia after consuming weed will likely attest that in the grips of paranoia, there’s a strong desire to be alone, antisocial, hide out in a dark room, or even become catatonic. RelatedHow to use cannabis for anxiety How can weed cause paranoia? In 2014, a landmark study of cannabis and paranoia confirmed what had long been suspected: THC can trigger paranoia. The study included 121 volunteers who were either given intravenous THC (the equivalent of a strong joint) or a placebo. The results clearly showed that THC can trigger paranoia in individuals who are more inclined toward paranoid thinking: Fifty percent of the volunteers given THC experienced paranoia, compared to 30% of the volunteers who received placebo. The study also offered other fascinating insights into how THC influences paranoid thinking. Abnormal brain processing THC appears to impair the way the brain processes random events, a phenomenon called abnormal salience. In simple terms, individuals are more likely to give extra importance to random events and misinterpret them after taking cannabis. Other studies have shown that the likelihood of attributing significance, or salience, is further increased when the individual is exposed to negative…
Study Sheds Light on Marijuana and Paranoia – WebMD
Study Sheds Light on Marijuana and Paranoia Menu By Peter Russell Medically Reviewed by Rob Hicks, MD on July 16, 2014 July 17, 2014 — An in-depth investigation has concluded that people who smoke marijuana are much more likely to have paranoia than people who don’t use the drug.The study also identifies psychological factors that can lead to feelings of paranoia in people exposed to the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC.The team of researchers, led by Professor Daniel Freeman, PHD, of the University of Oxford, found that worrying, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and having a range of unsettling changes in perceptions most likely lead to the feelings of paranoia.Fearing HarmA paranoid person is someone who has an unfounded fear that others intend to harm them. Many people have some degree of paranoia. Those who are young, poor, in bad health, contemplating suicide, or using marijuana (also called cannabis) are more prone to have paranoid episodes.The scientists set out to explore two things:Firstly, does marijuana cause paranoia?Secondly, how does it affect the mind in order to cause paranoia?Injecting THCThey tested 121 participants between the ages of 21 and 50. All of them had taken marijuana at least once before.None of the participants had a history of mental illness, and all were screened to rule out relevant health conditions. But all of those taking part said they’d felt paranoid at least once in the previous month.The volunteers were not invited to smoke joints. Instead, the scientists injected some of them with THC in order to ensure the results were as accurate as possible.Two-thirds of the participants were given THC, and one-third received a placebo.The amount of THC given was equal to a strong marijuana joint, and the effects lasted about 90 minutes.Virtual RealityImmediately after being injected, the volunteers were asked to walk into a hospital cafeteria and buy an item. From there they were taken to a lab, where they wore virtual reality headsets displaying a neutral social situation that didn’t have any hostile characteristics. These experiments were followed up with questionnaires and interviews.After analyzing the results, the scientists found that THC increased the likelihood of paranoia happening.Half the participants had paranoid thoughts with THC, compared to just 30% with placebo.The paranoia declined as the drug left the bloodstream.The drug also caused a range of other psychological effects: anxiety, worry, lowered mood, negative thoughts about the self, various changes in perception (such as sounds being louder than normal and colors brighter), thoughts echoing, altered perception of time, and poorer short-term memory.Negative FeelingsThe researchers believe the study reinforces the idea that paranoia stems from multiple causes.They say it’s likely that paranoia creeps in because THC increases negative feelings, and the perceptual changes lead to the rise in paranoia. There was no indication that the poorer short-term memory caused the increase in paranoia.Freeman tells WebMD that young people may be more at risk. “There’s certainly evidence that if you use cannabis — particularly when you’re young — and you use it a lot, that this can put you at risk for later problems.” He says the results don’t have any implications for policing, the criminal justice system, or politicians.”I think what it highlights is that if you have greater confidence in yourself, you improve your self-esteem, and if you try not to worry or ruminate about potential threats in the world… then the effects of the THC should hopefully be less capable of inducing paranoia,” he says.The study was part-funded by the National Institute for Health Research…
Is there a link between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders? | National Institute on Drug Abuse Several studies have linked marijuana use to increased risk for psychiatric disorders, including psychosis (schizophrenia), depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders, but whether and to what extent it actually causes these conditions is not always easy to determine.32 Recent research suggests that smoking high-potency marijuana every day could increase the chances of developing psychosis by nearly five times compared to people who have never used marijuana.113 The amount of drug used, the age at first use, and genetic vulnerability have all been shown to influence this relationship. The strongest evidence to date concerns links between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders in those with a preexisting genetic or other vulnerability.61 Research using longitudinal data from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions examined associations between marijuana use, mood and anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders. After adjusting for various confounding factors, no association between marijuana use and mood and anxiety disorders was found. The only significant associations were increased risk of alcohol use disorders, nicotine dependence, marijuana use disorder, and other drug use disorders.62 Recent research (see “AKT1 Gene Variations and Psychosis”) has found that people who use marijuana and carry a specific variant of the AKT1 gene, which codes for an enzyme that affects dopamine signaling in the striatum, are at increased risk of developing psychosis. The striatum is an area of the brain that becomes activated and flooded with dopamine when certain stimuli are present. One study found that the risk of psychosis among those with this variant was seven times higher for those who used marijuana daily compared with those who used it infrequently or used none at all.63 Whether adolescent marijuana use can contribute to developing psychosis later in adulthood appears to depend on whether a person already has a genetically based vulnerability to the disorder. The AKT1 gene governs an enzyme that affects brain signaling involving the neurotransmitter dopamine. Altered dopamine signaling is known to be involved in schizophrenia. AKT1 can take one of three forms in a specific region of the gene implicated in susceptibility to schizophrenia: T/T, C/T, and C/C. Those who use marijuana daily (green bars) with the C/C variant have a seven times higher risk of developing psychosis than those who use it infrequently or use none at all. The risk for psychosis among those with the T/T variant was unaffected by whether they used marijuana.Another study found an increased risk of psychosis among adults who had used marijuana in adolescence and also carried a specific variant of the gene for catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), an enzyme that degrades neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine64 (see “Genetic Variations in COMT Influences the Harmful Effects of Abused Drugs”). Marijuana use has also been shown to worsen the course of illness in patients who already have schizophrenia. As mentioned previously, marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction in non-schizophrenic people who use marijuana, especially at high doses, although this fades as the drug wears off. The influence of adolescent marijuana use on adult psychosis is affected by genetic variables. This figure shows that variations in a gene can affect the likelihood of developing psychosis in adulthood following exposure to cannabis…
Why Pot Makes You Paranoid—but Mellows Out Your Buddies
Why Pot Makes You Paranoid—but Mellows Out Your BuddiesPot has the overriding perception as the chill-out drug. In fact, almost a third of marijuana users in the U.S. say the main purpose of it is to reduce anxiety or stress, a recent Marist poll found.But that’s not always the case—in fact, lighting up leaves lots of people paranoid, anxious, and eager for the high to fade. And that can impact those who are not prone to anxiety.Turns out, there are several factors that can turn a blissfully mellow high into heart-racing paranoia. Here’s what’s going on.How Pot Gets You HighThe high you experience with marijuana actually mimics a process your body has in place to keep anxiety levels in check, says Gregory Gerdeman, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biology at Eckerd College.This happens through what’s called your endocannabinoid system: One of its functions is to cool down brain synapses that release stimulating neurotransmitters, the primary “go” signal used in brain circuits, says Gerdeman. The endocannabinoid system helps pump the brakes by triggering the release of cannabinoids, chemical compounds that bind to cannabinoid receptors throughout your brain and body. That sends the signal to chill out when we’re wired.“These receptors are expressed at high levels in areas of the brain that have to do with mood regulation,” says Steven Kinsey, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology and coordinator of the Behavioral Neuroscience Training Program at West Virginia University. In 2014, a study from Vanderbilt University found that many of these cannabinoid receptors are found in the amygdala, a part of the brain that regulates anxiety and the fight-or-flight response.Marijuana contains plant-based cannabinoids, too. So when you smoke, vape, or otherwise consume weed, the cannabinoids bind to the same receptors in your body. And that triggers the same relaxing feeling as the release and binding of your body’s own cannabinoids does.But the truth is, this system doesn’t always go according to plan. There are some factors that can make your hit more likely you to tweak you out than bliss you out.Higher Levels Of THC Can Make You More AnxiousTHC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive compound of cannabis, which binds directly to the cannabinoid receptors, says Kinsey. At lower doses this tends to be pretty relaxing. However, the higher the dosage, the more likely it is to spark an anxious reaction.It’s called a biphasic response, says Gerdeman. As you start to take in small amounts of THC, it can cause a therapeutic effect. But the higher you go, the more likely you are to trigger the opposite effect.Controlled research here is limited and individual tolerance varies, says Gerdeman, but a recent study provides a benchmark. Researchers from the University of Chicago tested how THC amounts influenced 42 pot users under stressful conditions. Those who took in 7.5 milligrams (mg) of THC felt less stressed by a mock interview than participants given a placebo, and their stress levels went down faster, too. (Here are 19 ways to live a stress-free life.)But those who took in 12.5 mg of THC reported negative emotions during the mock interview, and were more likely to rate the task as “challenging” or “threatening.”For reference, Gerdeman says that a joint with about one gram of cannabis flower that has a 15 percent THC content would contain about 150 mg of THC. (Of course, the THC content could be much higher and the joint could be fatter than a single gram, so this isn’t a guarantee.) Some of that THC gets destroyed in the burn, and how…
Marijuana Paranoia: What It Is and Why It Happens – Leafwell
Marijuana Paranoia: What It Is and Why It HappensLoginen|esGet your cardOpen menuCloseTable of contentsWhat Is Marijuana Paranoia?CausesWhat to Do When You Feel ParanoidHow to Prevent Marijuana ParanoiaFrequently Asked QuestionsHealth & WellnessScientific evidence suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) can help improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia. Learn more about the best CBD for sleep.Cannabis ScienceFind out how medical marijuana can help treat your anxiety. Discover the best cannabis strains for different anxiety disorders.Health & WellnessMicrodosing Could Be Key Take Note of the Terpenes Figuring Out the Right Dosage & Ingestion Method for You With half the world shutdown and people stuck at…
Marijuana and Paranoia – Skywood Recovery
Marijuana and Paranoia – Skywood Recovery Popular culture never ceases to remind us of the lighter side of smoking marijuana – the munchies, the relaxed moods, the bizarre thought processes, and anything else you can see in a movie that makes the drug seem comical. However, there are slightly more insidious effects of lighting up, some of them too serious to include in a lighthearted cinematic romp. One such effect is paranoia. There is well-established connection between marijuana and paranoia, but not enough education about how lighting up can lead you to be paralyzed with fear that people are coming to get you. What Do You Mean by ‘Paranoia’? Before getting into the relationship between smoking marijuana and paranoia, it’s important to understand what we’re talking about when we use the term “paranoia.” WebMD describes the condition as an unfounded fear that you are the target of harm, by a person or a group of people. Paranoia is a very common condition; for example, we’ve all wondered if we were the subject of ridicule in a particular social environment (if people judged us for not dressing appropriately to a black tie event or if we were the only person not privy to an inside joke). But there is a spectrum of paranoia. While the above form of the condition exists on the more benign end of that spectrum, the opposite end tells a very different story. There, sufferer’s daily lives are ruined by the constant fear that people – friends, family, complete strangers – are out to get them or to do them some kind of wrong. Someone experiencing this severe form of paranoia interprets events that most of us would consider as coincidental or unintentional as deliberate and intentional. What Does Paranoia Have to Do with Marijuana? There appears to be a very strong connection between smoking marijuana and heightened feelings of paranoia. Writing in The Guardian, Professor Daniel Freeman, PhD, at the University of Oxford, quoted a study he co-conducted of 121 participants (the findings of which were published in Schizophrenia Bulletin) that discovered associations between paranoia (especially the more problematic manifestations of the condition) were higher in cannabis users than in people who did not use the drug: Three times as many marijuana smokers as non-users felt someone was out to harm them. Five times as many marijuana smokers as non-users felt someone was trying to cause them significant injury. The Seattle-Post Intelligencer – based in a state where almost 7,000 people applied to become legal marijuana growers, processors, or sellers when the drug was decriminalized – called this a “causal relationship” between marijuana and a “psychological outcome.” What Is It About Marijuana that Can Cause Paranoia? To answer this question, we have to look at what exactly is in marijuana. One of the active ingredients in marijuana is a chemical compound called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short. It is THC that is primarily responsible for the psychedelic and hallucinogenic effects of marijuana. When marijuana is smoked, THC is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, and the user begins to feel its effects (and those of other chemical compounds in marijuana) within minutes. In Dr. Freeman’s study, 66 percent of his participants were injected with THC, and around half of them reported “changes in perception that induced paranoia.” The feelings diminished as the THC left the participants’ bodies. As Dr….
Mental Health | Health Effects | Marijuana – CDC
Mental Health | Health Effects | Marijuana Marijuana use, especially frequently (daily or nearly daily) and in high doses, can cause disorientation and sometimes unpleasant thoughts or feelings of anxiety and paranoia.1 People who use marijuana are more likely to develop temporary psychosis (not knowing what is real, hallucinations, and paranoia) and long-lasting mental disorders, including schizophrenia (a type of mental illness where people might see or hear things that are not really there).2 The association between marijuana and schizophrenia is stronger in people who start using marijuana at an earlier age and use marijuana more frequently. Marijuana use has also been linked to depression; social anxiety; and thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts, and suicide.1 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: the current state of evidence and recommendations for research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2017. Volkow ND, Swanson JM, Evins AE, et al. Effects of cannabis use on human behavior, including cognition, motivation, and psychosis: a review. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(3):292-297.
Study: how marijuana causes paranoia – Medical News Today
Study: how marijuana causes paranoiaIn what is deemed the largest and most in-depth study of the effects of the main ingredient in marijuana, researchers say they have identified the psychological factors that can lead to feelings of paranoia among users of the drug. The research team, led by Prof. Daniel Freeman of the University of Oxford in the UK, recently published their findings in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin. Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a drug that is produced from the plants Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica. The main active ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the majority of the drug’s psychological effects, such as hallucinations and delusions. Share on PinterestResearchers suggest that THC – the main active ingredient in marijuana – causes certain negative feelings and changes perceptions that induce paranoid feelings among users of the drug. Past research has indicated that marijuana use can induce paranoia – which Prof. Freeman describes as “excessive thinking that other people are trying to harm us.” “It’s very common because in our day-to-day lives we have to weigh up whether to trust or mistrust, and when we get it wrong – that’s paranoia,” he explains.” Many people have a few paranoid thoughts, and a few people have many paranoid thoughts.” For the study, Prof. Freeman and colleagues tested the effects of THC on 121 participants ages 21-50 in order to see whether the compound triggers paranoid feelings and how it does this. All participants had used cannabis at least once previously and had no history of mental health conditions. Two thirds of participants were injected with THC at a dose equivalent to a strong joint, while a third of participants were injected with a placebo. The researchers note that they chose to inject the participants with the compound as it ensured they all had similar levels of THC in their bloodstream. The researchers report that the effects of THC on participants lasted for 90 minutes. Results of the study revealed that among participants who were injected with THC, around 50% reported paranoid thoughts, compared with 30% of participants who received the placebo. The researchers note that as the compound left the bloodstream, feelings of paranoia reduced. The team found that THC also induced anxiety, worry, reduced mood, negative thoughts about oneself, changes in perception – including the report of louder noises and clouds being brighter – and altered their perception of time. Using a statistical analysis, the researchers found that it may be these negative feelings and changes in perception that cause paranoid feelings among marijuana users. The team says their findings not only “very convincingly” show that cannabis can cause short-term paranoia in some users, but they may also explain how our mind encourages paranoid feelings. “Paranoia is likely to occur when we are worried, think negatively about ourselves, and experience unsettling changes in our perceptions,” says Prof. Freeman, adding: “The study identifies a number of highly plausible ways in which our mind promotes paranoid fears. Worry skews our view of the world and makes us focus on perceived threat. Thinking we are inferior means we feel vulnerable to harm. Just small differences in our perception can make us feel that something strange and even frightening is going on.” He notes that although the study – funded by the UK’s Medical Research Council – provides more information about the immediate effects marijuana can have, it does not look at the effects of cannabis addiction and therefore “does not necessarily hold implications for policing, the criminal justice system or legislation.” “The implication is that reducing time spent ruminating, being more confident in ourselves, and not…